Cats & Farm Animals — Not So Different After All

See 10 ways that cow, sheep or chicken is like your cat.

By Susie Coston | Posted: December 20, 2013, 10 a.m. EST

Printer Friendly
"Farm Animal Whisperer” Susie Coston has served as national shelter director of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization for more than a decade. Responsible for the group’s three shelters in New York and California, Coston oversees the care of hundreds of rescued cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. And that’s just during her workday. At night, she comes home to her eight rescued cats.

"There are far more similarities between cats and farm animals than people realize,” says Coston. "Like our companion animals, farm animals are unique individuals with distinct personalities. They are sensitive, intelligent, and social.” Here, Coston shares some of the many ways that farm animals are like our feline friends.

Photos credit Farm Sanctuary except where noted
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

1.    Cats & Turkeys: Purrfectly Content
Like cats, turkeys enjoy being stroked — sometimes so much that they start to "purr.” The noise sounds very much like a cat’s purr, and it means just the same thing: "This is heaven!”
"There are far more similarities between cats and farm animals than people realize,” says Coston. "Like our companion animals, farm animals are unique individuals with distinct personalities. They are sensitive, intelligent, and social.” Here, Coston shares some of the many ways that farm animals are like our feline friends.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

2.    Cats & Sheep: Leg Rubs
Does your cat love to rub up against your legs? Sheep do it too! Like cats, they’re partial to legs attached to people they like. Some of our sheep will spend a good ten minutes scratching their heads on your jeans.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike
Credit Connie Pugh

3.    Pigs & Cats: Discerning Eye
Felines are notorious for their discriminating taste in companionship; farm animals can have strong preferences as well. They all have their favorite people — and people they would rather avoid. A grumpy pig, for instance, will make it very clear that you are not the person they were expecting to see. Meanwhile, a pig (or any farm animal) who thinks you’re great will probably let you know it the moment you walk in their barn by showering you with affection.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

4.    Cows & Cats: Curious Critters
Cats aren’t the only ones known for inquisitiveness; cattle are also very curious. Our herd members love to follow behind any animal who comes into their pasture. Huge cows and steers are hard to miss, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to sneak up on cats, squirrels, chickens, or anyone who wanders in, just to figure out who they are.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

5.    Cats & Goats: Just Want to Have Fun
Maybe your cats like to scramble up the cat tree or chase each other around the house like maniacs. Goats can’t get enough play time either. They love to run, jump, and rough-house. The goat jungle-gyms (or bales of straw or just about anything they can climb) at our shelters have withstood some epic games of King of the Hill.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

6.    Pigs & Cats: A Place in the Sun
When it comes to finding the perfect patch of sunshine, pigs give cats a run (or, perhaps, a doze) for their money. Pigs are some of the smartest animals around, and they love intellectual stimulation, but they are also suckers for the simple pleasure of a good stretch and an afternoon nap. (Unlike most cats, they also dig a nice mud bath.)
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

7.   Chickens & Cats: Lap of Luxury
Cats aren’t the only ones who like to curl up on a warm lap. Many chickens enjoy it too! Some chickens like nothing more than to sit in your lap and have their heads softly stroked. I’ve even known a few who also liked to ride on people’s shoulders.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

8.    Cows & Cats: Good Grooming
Although they don’t have the reputation for fastidiousness that cats do, cattle also spend lots of time grooming both themselves and others. They lick their sons and daughters; they lick their best friends and herd mates; they even lick their human buddies. Grooming is a way for them to lend a helping hand (er, tongue), to provide comfort, and to express affection.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

9.    Goats & Cats: Fun and Games
Just like the cat who can spend hours attacking a piece of string, farm animals are talented at making their own fun. For instance, any time you bring a box near our friend Maxie the goat, she will snoop, pulling out the contents and making toys of any choice discoveries.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike

10.    Pigs & Cats: Motherly Love
Like cats, many farm animals make very loving, devoted, and protective mothers. Among these dedicated moms are pigs, who build nests for their babies to sleep in at night (sometimes even after their "babies” have become full-grown adults), and hens, who protect their chicks by hiding the youngsters under their wings.
How Farm Animals and Cats are Alike
Susie Coston and the friendly cow Sunny 

Another important similarity between cats and farm animals? Both depend on us to have safe, happy lives. You can help Farm Sanctuary provide food, shelter, and care to a needy farm animal by sponsoring a sanctuary resident through our Adopt a Farm Animal Program. It’s a wonderful way to welcome one of these amazing creatures into your family (without investing in a barn!). To learn more, please visit farmsanctuary.org, email sponsorship@farmsanctuary.org, or call us at 607-583-2225 ext. 225.
Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
Cats & Farm Animals — Not So Different After All

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Kristen    Greensburg, PA

1/12/2014 7:53:36 PM

Another reason Im a proud vegetarian,,,brought tears to my eyes,

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

1/11/2014 9:37:24 PM

Thank you everyone! Thanks, Nora! We are big fans of yours!

Suellen    Denver, CO

1/11/2014 3:25:28 PM

Totally true. You can see their souls in their eyes.
I want a goat so bad.

Nora The Piano Cat    Philadelphia, PA

1/10/2014 11:54:35 AM

Loved the article. I posted a link on my FB page.

View Current Comments


Top Products

ADS BY GOOGLE